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Archive for December, 2008

Christmas Island

Categories: Singapore
Comments: 5

Instead of going to one of the more famous destinations here in Asia (e.g. countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, etc.), I’ll go to something even more exotic (well, the Asian countries are no longer exotic to me Wink). From December 29 until January 05, I’ll be on Christmas Island!

Christmas Island lies a bit southwest of Java (Indonesia), but belongs to Australia. It is most famous for its annual migration of the red crabs, where thousands of red crabs march across it towards the sea for breeding. Furthermore, it is home to many birds, and most of the island are declared as nature park, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers (like me!).

I booked the trip through a local agent here in Singapore, Eco Adventures. As the only way to get to Christmas Island from Asia (the other option is to fly from Australia) is with the weekly flight from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), I also booked a flight from Singapore to KL and back on the corresponding dates via Jetstar. I will stay in VQ3 Lodge during my stay.

Christmas Island Flights
(Map copyright by and taken from maps.google.com) (Click image for larger version)

A wonderful collection of pictures taken on Christmas Island can be found at http://mountainsbeyond.org/events/Christmas2007/ChristmasIndex.html

More information about Christmas Island can be found on the following websites:
http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/christmas/index.html
http://www.christmas.net.au/


Gmail now includes a task list

Categories: Web
Comments: No

It is now possible to manage a tasks list from within Gmail. To do so, it first has to be activated under Settings and Labs, then check Enable for Tasks:
Gmail Tasks 

After saving the changes, a new link will appear on the left-hand side under Contacts:

Gmail Tasks

And here’s how it looks like:

Gmail Tasks

Read the official announcement here.


Next week, on the 10th December, the Enlarged Jurong Point (meaning: the extension to the existing Jurong Point, my local mall) will open! And I just saw that we’ll get a ThaiExpress! I’m so happy :)

The official announcement can be found here, the list of tenants here.


This is what happens when one person uses Gmail for long email conversations (in this case the other person uses yahoo):

Small preview:

Longer version (but still not the whole thing):

Gmail conversations

Gmail conversations

And it really slows Gmail down when you want to reply to that…


March 2006
My first time in Singapore. I arrive in the late afternoon at around 4.30pm. My first time in Asia, my first time flying alone. Changi Airport appears huge to me, and I don’t know where to go to at first. Luckily I walk into the right direction and manage to go through immigration easily, grabbing my luggage.

I take a taxi to my new home. Although I read about it before, the "humidity wall" when you get out of the airconditioned airport is still a small "shock" for me. While on the road, I am impressed by the huge number of palm trees along the road leading away from the airport, and I think that I’m in a tropical paradise.

Later that evening, my landlady brings me on a short tour around the neighbourhood. Everything is foreign and strange to me. There’s a hindu temple nearby (the first one I see in person in my life!), and a hawker centre (also the first one I see in my life…). My landlady buys me some strawberry drink with jelly. At first it’s quite nice, but the more I drink, the more I realise that I don’t like jelly (still the same today….).

The next few days and weeks are filled with new things. Little India on a Sunday is a very interesting experience, packed with people in the streets. My landlady shows me the way to my workplace via bus (I did so only two times, taking the MRT is much more convenient, even though I have to walk a bit). At first I feel a bit strange being quite often the only Caucasian in the train, one of my first thoughts on the way to work on my first day was something like "They’re all Asian!"

There are a few times where I think "What the heck am I doing here? Why am I here?". I remember one time when I was on my way back home at night, and the taxi drove past some very old and "not so nice" looking houses. Singapore sometimes seemed a bit "not so modern" (to express it in a polite way).

 

Today
I’ve been quite localised. I love the weather here, and don’t feel the humidity anymore. I love being around Asians, I feel a bit weird being around Caucasians (office is an exception, of course), and actually prefer the company of at least a mixed group (most of the time it’s locals only). I stopped seeing people as Chinese, Indian, or Malays. If I don’t know them, they’re Singaporeans to me (unless I hear a China Chinese accent….and I’m getting quite good at recognising PRCs before hearing them talk….), and when I know people, to me they are the individual that they are. I tend to "forget" that they are Chinese/Malay/Indian.

I’m slowly forgetting where some roads in my hometown are ("Tullastrasse, hmmm…….ok, now I remember"), but I know exactly where places like Tampines, Yishun, Choa Chu Kang, Tanjong Pagar, Bishan, Dempsey Hill, Esplanade, and Woodlands are.

Germany may still be my country of origin, but when I think of home now, I refer to Singapore.